Thursday, November 4, 2010

3 LOGSACs, 2 others from MFSM scale Mt. Pulag on Halloween 2010

Three members of the Local Government of Sta. Cruz Adventure Club (LOGSAC) have climbed Mt. Pulag – the highest peak of Luzon and the 2nd highest in the Philippines – on October 30-31, 2010 along with 2 other members of the Mountaineering Federation of Southern Mindanao (MFSM). This is in relation to the club’s quest of scaling several mountains outside Mindanao. The climb was made successful through a mammoth support provided by TEDV Services, Inc. through its head honcho Ma’am Josephine Devera who was also part of the climb.

Mount Pulag is the second highest mountain in the Philippines. It is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters above sea level. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain's peak.

I was accompanied by my club-mates Papong and Irvhin and we were also joined by MFSM chief Gabo and club affiliate Ella. We had chosen Ambangeg Trail in Kabayan Town of Benguet as our route considering that there were other side trips of much concern that we wanted to visit as part of maximizing the remaining days of our stay in Luzon.

After a hilarious pre-climb orientation and registration at the DENR Protected Area Superintendent Office, we headed our way directly to the Ranger Station as the jump off point where we were on board a sturdy public utility jeepney trying to endure a bumpy road. The overall travel time from Baguio to the ranger station was approximately 5 hours. We had a very exhausting road trip we already suffered body pains even before we started the actual trekking.

Since we had the Ambangeg route, the trekking was more of a recreation. We reached the first campsite in less than an hour and had to go directly to the second campsite. Mt. Pulag, although already drenched with climbers all over the Philippines, still has a lot to offer especially wild bushes and fierce fauna species along the trail way. Water source is also not much of a problem considering that there are still protected springs in the area as the main source of potable water for climbers and the community.

At about 5:30 PM, we reached the Saddle Campsite and stayed there the rest of the evening. The first climbing day had given us so many reasons to take pictures because of the good weather. As other mountaineers from Luzon would put it, Mt. Pulag is one mountain having the best and alluring panoramic views in the entire Philippines. Indeed, we experienced it and have all of the depictions archived in our respective cameras. The setting of the sun on the first day was also terrible, displaying all its rays in our favour.

Our experience on the second day was very opposite as compared to the first day. As we were about to experience sunrise, Mt. Pulag suddenly began flaunting a frown on its face to all of us. We have waited for almost 2 hours waiting for the sun to sparkle but to no avail. Instead, it gave us extremely strong wind, heavy rain showers and terrific but manageable coldness. We were forced to descend through Ambangeg then and reached back the ranger station on lunch time. Our second day was more of a fortitude rather than amusement. However, the success of the climb was manifested when we arrived at the ranger station alive and kicking and wearing a smirk on our respective faces.

“I really had good time climbing Mt. Pulag although my Mt. Apo experience was far more challenging. It’s a dream come true for me,” said Ma’am Josephine. “I just hope that while climbing, we will not change the mountains but instead let the mountains change us.”

Gabo, for his part said Mt. Pulag is just a minor climb destination every leisure climber would love to visit. “It didn’t scare me. The temperature was fine I didn’t even utilize all my anti-cold stuffs. If only I had the luxury of time I really wanted the Akiki-Ambangeg traverse trail”

“Pulag ba yun?,” exclaimed Irvhin, saying the trek was just normal even first timers would find it easy to climb”.

After the 2-day climb, we had a very rewarding side trips to Baguio and Zambales (Anawangin Cove and Capones Island) on November 1 and 2. #